~Written By Pattyhap1863~

Ghosts seem to be popping up more than usual these days. You can see various websites dedicated to the paranormal that are constantly screaming “ghost” in every picture they take. Common sense and reading up on photography makes no difference to these amateur ghost hunters. Since camera phones are very easy to carry and manage, they appear to be very popular for the wannabes out there. Words and phrases like low resolution, slow or fast shutter speed and even “hold the camera steady” mean nothing for these intrepid photographers. They point and shoot and if they see a smudge that they think is not accounted for, they say it’s a ghost. They are oblivious to pareidolia (matrixing) and fail to understand even the simplest rules of basic photography.

“The term pareidolia (pronounced /pæra??do?li?/), referenced in 1994 by Steven Goldstein, describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hidden messages on records played in reverse. Carl Sagan hypothesized that as a survival technique, human beings are “hard-wired” from birth to identify the human face. This allows people to use only minimal details to recognize faces from a distance and in poor visibility but can also lead them to interpret random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces”.(Definition taken from Wikipedia)

Very recently we conducted an experiment on GhostsAmongUs.Net. People were asked to take pics with their camera phones and then shake the camera around to see what popped up in the picture. To our surprise, not only did the picture turn out strange, but also appeared to have certain faces in it. Had we unwillingly captured the image of a ghost?

On investigating further, we came to understand that when the area of a photograph is blown up to the max, we can see faces in the pattern. These are not real faces, nor ghostly ones. They are merely our brains straining to make sense of the anomaly we see. Thus, by cropping a small portion of the pic, and zooming in on it (blowing it up) we join and connect the dots and form a face or several faces depending on the shot. This is especially true if we over enhance the pic.

We also have to admit that there are some great programs out there for ‘enhancing’ photographs. Indeed, Photoshop is the greatest program for creating ghost images. By applying certain filters one can get astounding results. Take the photo below for example. This was taken by one of the members of the site. It is a picture of her computer screen monitor. She moved the camera phone on purpose to get the blurred effect:

If this picture is cropped, so that the screen monitor becomes less noticeable you can get this one below:

If it is darkened and blurred using Photoshop, you can get this image below. The smudge tool is also applied to get the desired orb effect as well.

If you look at this picture, you have a perfect example of a picture of a ghostly apparition. Furthermore, if you combine this picture with another one of a cemetery and use layers you can get a fabulous ghost picture, as demonstrated by another member with this picture below:

What people don’t seem to realize, is that light plays a very important part in camera phone pictures. They take the pics and don’t care if there is little or no light in the room.

One of our members illustrated how easy it is to confuse real people with ghosts in a room where there is little or no light.

They excitedly see a figure and lighten the picture up to prove that they have got something, and when they see the result, they almost fall off their chair, for there is a figure there! On inspecting it closely, a part of them realizes that the figure looks like their brother, sister, partner, and so on. However, they push the thought away and the more they look at it, the more they convince themselves that it is the real thing.

Another factor that people fail to consider when taking a cam phone pic is that if you enable the zoom in feature, you are invariably going to take grainy pictures, thus resulting in even more anomalies which can be mistaken for faces. If you add to this a shaky hand, the results will be even more confusing.

There are many more pictures that our members have taken using their camera phones to experiment how easy it is to get anomalous results. We urge you all to click the links below and take a look at the results as well.

http://www.ghostsamongus.net/v2/Forums/viewtopic/t=3497.html

http://www.ghostsamongus.net/v2/Forums/viewtopic/t=3512.html

A word of advice to all when looking for ghost pictures on the net: When you come to a site that advertises having taken real ghost pictures or pictures of demons using a cell/camera phone, do your homework first. Read up on the different features that a camera phone uses, and use your common sense when you are looking at the pictures. Not everything is as it seems, and certainly not everyone is for real. Not even the ghosts or demons in the pictures themselves!

Pictures taken by AshelyElizabeth, Munchkin1973, and hdhse.
Special effects by BeyonderBill and Pattyhap1863.

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